For three weeks I’ve been trying to write this blog post. I’ve sat down half a dozen times using half as many methods: typing at my laptop, scribbling in my journal, musing in my mind. And—nothing.
Well, writer’s block didn’t plague me completely. I did a fair amount of research and reflecting, compiled several pages of relevant information. And, sure, each writing attempt produced a decent smattering of words.
So funky stuck that I began to wonder if I should just trash it all and instead write a funny limerick about the time my son tried to “clean” my contact lenses in his little potty full of pee. While that might be worth doing for pure entertainment’s sake, this stuck-in-me post felt weighty—worthy of coming out.
I just couldn’t let it go.
Then last night while I spent some time in my sacred thinking box (aka quiet shower after my kids are asleep), I had this awakening:
Conviction is empty without action.
Conviction is trite without change.
I knew exactly what it meant. For me. For getting my post unstuck.
But before I tell you why, let me back up.
The post I’d been trying to write was about my *one word* for 2016: DELIGHT.
I wanted to write first about how God used my one word for 2015 in amazing ways to guide me, stretch me, and bless me as I purposed to continue in Him and trust Him to continue in me. (You can read about the beginnings of that here.)
I wanted to tell you how God was faithful twelve-months-strong in ways big and small and how as December crept to an end, I longed for Him to speak to me clearly again. I longed for a new word to shine a light on the path God had set for the year ahead.
Then I hoped to wrap it all up in a pretty, word-art bow and tell you with poetic grandeur how He did it! How God whispered a new word right to my heart and now I can take flight on another great adventure of pursuing this God-given theme!
But each time I tried to do this writing I wanted I got stuck. Not because what I’ve said isn’t true. God did work in significant ways in my life last year that are worth sharing. And He did answer my prayer for a specific word to guide me in 2016.
What my shower epiphany made clear is that I couldn’t fully write about a new conviction until I was ready to fully live it.
My One Word for 2016 is DELIGHT, which was birthed through this Spirit-whispered question:
Where do you find your delight?
This led to a humbling confession: I had been finding my delight in meaningless junk of this world instead of in the Holy Word of God. Not junk that would make this post gossip-worthy or shocking. But junk nonetheless.
This is what I confessed to the Lord on the last day of 2015:
God, you are with us, yet I have missed you. I miss you. I know you are always here—I have thought of you and called to you—but lately I have not purposed to draw near to you.
I’ve been filling the holes in my time and holes in my heart with meaningless gods: Sudoku, Facebook, sleep. I’ve been looking there first for comfort, connection, peace. But you are the only true source of any of it. You are the source of all.
Please forgive me, Father. Forgive me for making idols out of being idle. Forgive me for putting you behind unimportant things. Forgive me for ignoring your voice when you call.
It was that confession that sparked a renewed conviction to give God my best in 2016 by allowing Him to be the source of my delight.
On the first of the year I made a stake out of the first Psalm. I planted these words firmly in the soil of my soul, claiming this is what I want my year, my life, to be about:
“Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join with the mockers. But they delight in the Law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never whither, and they prosper in all they do.” (Psalm 1:1-3)
Delighting in the Law of the Lord. Yes.
Meditating on it day and night. Yes.
These pursuits lead to godly obedience and blessing, but more than that they lead to joy!
This connection between finding delight in the Word and experiencing joy propelled me on a hunt to see where else this correlation might be found. I landed in Psalm 119 and the evidence of a profound relationship between the two was beautifully overwhelming.
This is a taste of what I found:
Joyful are people of integrity,
who follow the instructions of the LORD. -1
Joyful are those who obey his laws
and search for him with all their hearts. -2
As pressure and stress bear down on me,
I find joy in your commands. -143
I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways.
I will delight in your decrees and not forget your word. -15-16
How I delight in your commands!
How I love them! -47
Your laws are my treasure;
they are my heart’s delight. -111
Do you see? Do you see how significant and encouraging this is? What an invitation to life this is?
As I poured over these verses, I not only felt the heartache for my past sin of putting mindless iPhone scrolling and number game clicking above the Lord, but I felt the comfort of being called with love and grace to something greater! Called to partake in the treasure hunt of finding my delight in the Word of God.
The riches are here! I’ve given you full access! the Lord says. Put aside that imitation wealth and come experience the riches of my wisdom, love, and joy! It’s all waiting for you here in my Word.
I hip-hip-hoorayed in my spirit with an enthusiastic YES!
I recommitted to making it a priority to read Scripture, study passages, and meditate on verses. January is always a great time to do this because lots of online Bible studies and devotional groups are starting up. I eagerly joined my friends at Deeper Waters to walk through the Word together. I haven’t skipped a day yet and even wrote some of the devotions.
So, I’m good, right?
Not so much. Because I couldn’t manage to authentically share it. The words stayed stuck because, though I was delighting in the Word, I was also still looking to those old bad-habit idols for some sort of satisfaction.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with keeping up with friends or posting a Facebook status. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a little brain exercise via a quick numbers game. But there is something wrong with those things being my default. There’s something wrong when first thing in the morning or last thing late in bed, my fingers flick and my mind mushes to the glowing screen of addiction.
I had added in more of God’s Word, but I hadn’t subtracted more of the world.
Back in my sacred thinking box, hot water pounded on my neck and this awakening thrummed in my chest
Convictions are empty without action. Convictions are trite without change.
Becky, do you want your year to be marked by delight? the Spirit breathed through the mist. Do you want my Word to transform you? Do you want the full life of joy I have offered you?
Then be willing to act. Be willing to change. Fully.
That night I deleted Sudoku from my phone and established some boundaries about time on social media to help me be more disciplined in this area. Is that the secret to a life of deep delight? Of course not. It was the small but personal sacrifice God was asking me to make in order to lean more fully into His will.
My heart echoed the Psalmist again:
“Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word.”
Lord, I choose You as my source of delight! May it ever be so.
If you are looking for a place to find encouragement in God’s Word in community, I invite you to check out the 2016 Bible Reading Plan at Deeper Waters.
Another resource that has been invaluable to my walk with the Lord is the Sabbath Society. Join Shelly Miller and hundreds of others on the journey of accepting God’s invitation to rest.